TARTAN (Assyrian, "tartanu," "turtanu"):
Title of an Assyrian official; twice mentioned in the Bible. A tartan, accompanied by a "rabsaris" and a "rab-shakeh," was sent to Jerusalem by Sennacherib to command Hezekiah to surrender the city (II Kings xviii. 17); and another is mentioned as Sargon's envoy to Ashdod in the year of a prophecy of Isaiah (Isa. xx. 1). The title was borne only by the two generals next to the king; thus there were a "tartanu rabu" (great tartan) and a "tartanu shanu" (second tartan). It is no longer possible to identify the tartans mentioned in the Bible, although the names of three of these officials are known: Ashur-isku (?)-udannim in 720 (the first year of Sargon's reign), Ilu-ittea in 694 (the beginning of the reign of Sennacherib), and Bel-emuranni in 686.
- Delitzsch, Assyriologisches Handwörterbuch.